Monday, 5 December 2016

Travel: Milan Weekender

I first visited Milan soon after starting this blog, back before I had a smartphone with an offline Google map and a list of pre-researched restaurants. In July the temperature was over 40 degrees but being in the very north of Italy, Milan misses out on winter sunshine although it was distinctly milder than London.

There's not a huge amount to do in Milan so it would be perfect for a one-nighter, a city to tick off the list without taking any precious annual leave in keeping with my frequent flyer tips. Milan may not be Italy's most beautiful city but it has such unfair competition in the form of Florence, Venice and Rome. On the flip side, it's not particularly touristy (especially in November) and prices are pretty reasonable.

Do: The Duomo and the surrounding plaza are as touristy as Milan gets but are a must see. Despite seeing the Duomo before I still couldn't quite believe that it wasn't a cardboard cut-out until I was up close. You can go in the Duomo and / or up on its roof which involves a climb of some 900 steps. If you're visiting in summer be mindful that as a working cathedral respectful dress is required.

The nearby Galleria Vittorio Emanuele is the most amazing shopping mall you will ever see, the shops inside all being far beyond my budget even before the pound slumped. As I'd already been on the roof of the Duomo I opted for the "Milan High Line" above the Galleria. Visibility was pretty poor but the man on the counter couldn't be bothered to charge me for entry so no complaints (I am not sure if the 12E entry fee is worth it otherwise).

The Monumental Cemetery in insane in scale. Everyone is welcome to wander around and in the autumn mist it was a little spooky, a little sad but the placement of a memento mori in the middle of the city is a reminder in these times to live as well as we can because we're all going to end up in the same place anyway (although the reminder that you ever existed will be directly proportional to your worldly wealth).

Eat: I don't think it's possible to eat badly in Italy. I grabbed a late breakfast from Luini behind the Rinascente department store. At €2.50 for a fried pocked of mozzarella and tomato from a Milan institution it would have been rude not to. Pizza is obviously everywhere and somehow tastes a lot better in Italy (I'm not a huge pizza lover but you can't go to Italy and not have one).

I always like to research veggie and vegan options when I'm travelling. Flower Burger is a tiny burger joint with an entirely vegan menu - the signature flower burger and chips were delicious although not particularly Italian. Mantra is a raw vegan restaurant around the corner from Flower Burger and has a takeaway counter for juices and snacks as well as a sit down restaurant which looks like it's been lifted straight out of Notting Hill. I picked up this spooky looking "koal" juice. Even in "normal" restaurants veggie and vegan options are not hard to come by. Praise be.

Taking a step away from health and veganism,  McDonalds Italy have a "Nutella Burger" on their menu which was begging to be Instagrammed.

Shop: Milan is obviously a fashion capital so take your weak pounds to Rinascente department store, the Navigli district where vintage shops line the banks of a canal network and the legendary 10 Corso Como (which is far more welcoming than you might expect and doesn't make you feel bad for wandering for half an hour and just buying a 4E badge).

Have you visited Milan?



  1. Though a bit misty, it does look like a cool place to visit.
    I'm not a Nutella fan at all (probably the only person in the world I imagine) so that burger does not sound like my cup of tea. The flower burger however does sound good!

  2. I went to Milan last summer and loved it. I went before the nutella burger was released, so now I feel like I should go back for just that.


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